heroine overdose

Big Pharma and the Heroin Death Machine

Comfortably numb

I may be a little late on this one but this topic bothers me. A lot.

About five years ago, while assigned as a violent crimes detective in our agency, it began.

People in our city started dying.

Not from gang violence, gunshots, knives or suicide. They were dying from heroin. The body’s were piling up. And I don’t mean that as hyperbole or shock value. They were literally, at times, running out of room at the medical examiner’s office with so many.

Why were so many people dying?

We have always had heroin addicts. Now they were dying at an alarming rate. It wouldn’t take long before we realized that the heroin being sold on our streets was some of the most potent ever seen in this country.

It didn’t make sense. Drug dealers, instilling the purest form of entrepreneurship there is, like profits. Big, ridiculous profits! Why in the world would they be supplying such a pure product?

It just wasn’t adding up.

It would appear that the suppliers and sellers were having some sort of cathartic doubling down on their past business model. It’s as if they were feeling guilty for gouging and making addicts all these years from their insidious product.

Or was it something else?

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Just cut this thing out me!


My 19 year old son had done that dumb thing that dumb people do and had signed up to run a marathon (this is me trying to be funny, please runners, no hate mail).

He would stay the night with me and I would get him to the starting line the following morning.

He and and my other kids went to bed early. I decided to stay up for a bit. Not because I wasn’t tired or ready for bed but because I sensed an old friend was coming for a visit.

You see, this old friend first showed up about a year before.

This friend I’m referring to is a gall bladder attack. I was hoping that the first incident was some sort of one time thing and that it would just go away on its own.

Even though my last name rhymes with doctor, I whiffed on this one too. I know all of you tough guys may be laughing at me right now but I have never felt agony like this before or since.

A doctor visit would confirm the obvious.

The doctor asked me what I wanted to do. Without hesitation I told him to “just cut this thing out of me!”


The surgery was scheduled for a few weeks out. During that time, waiting for the surgery, I walked around as if I could step on a land mine or be caught in an ambush from another attack.

The surgery couldn’t come soon enough.

The doctor who performed the surgery was very frank with me when I asked him about any follow up visits after the procedure. He looked directly into my eyes and said, with the slightest smile, “you’re not going to like me very much after this”.

And he was right! I hated his guts (no pun intended).

The post op pain was almost as bad as the attacks themselves.

It was a good thing he had prescribed me a healthy supply of the good stuff.

Pain killers.



The rate at which we were responding (and continue to respond) to these calls was beginning to catch peoples attention. It would have been sooner if it were not for her ugly step sister Spice that distracted everyone. Thank God that terrible synthetic drug didn’t last long.

It just seemed so senseless.

Practically everyday, and much worse in other parts of the country, someone would die from a heroine overdose. It wasn’t until a few famous actors started dropping that the collective consciousness of our society began to take notice.

We would soon learn that it wasn’t just the purity of the heroin that was killing its users but what some of the batches were being cut with. It was discovered that a common cutting agent was a drug called Fentanyl, another synthetic opioid 100’s of times more powerful than morphine.

Why would you add something this powerful to a drug that was already the most potent drug out there?

What was driving this insanity?

Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you to the biggest drug cartel on planet Earth…


That’s right. Big Ole Fat U.S. Pharmaceutical!

Take the pain

After the outpatient surgery, my wife drove me home and I slept the rest of the day away in a post op bliss. While I slept, she went and had my 30 day prescription of pain medication filled.

Being the tough guy that I am, I told her that I wouldn’t be needing them.

This lasted up until about 1:00 Am.

At that time I was suddenly awoken by a flood of pain that was unbearable. I asked (begged) her to get me the good stuff. She retrieved the bottle and so began my blissful journey into a fog of numbness.

With no pain.

Two weeks went by and I slowly started to feel normal. This return to normalcy should have also marked the end of my need for pain medication.

It did not.

The mind is very powerful. My brain had me convinced that taking the pain meds was a mere precaution in case the pain returned. And to be honest, pain meds made me feel good by not letting me feel anything.

Funny how that works.

They say that true empathy occurs when you can put yourself in someones shoes and understand the burden they carry. After taking my last pill, only then could I honestly understand the plight of those who become addicted to pain medication.

The pieces to the puzzle were starting to become crystal clear.

Big Pharma, with the help of many doctors who were more than willing to over prescribe them, had turned millions of good people into helpless addicts.

Once the truth came out and they had made their dime, both had drastically scaled back the volume of pills they would sell and to whom.

This would have catastrophic results.

Free market society and heroin death 101

The initial consequence of the massive scaling back of prescribed pain medication resulted in normal people committing crime and doing anything else to get their pill.

Enter the heroin marketing team.

They sat back and waited for the right time to execute their genius campaign.

It worked something like this;

They knew that if they offered a product that was similar to synthetic opioids, the profits would be substantial. They had one major problem. The addicts that they were targeting had built up a huge tolerance.

This was no problem said the heroin marketing team. We will give them a product that satisfies their tolerance.

And it didn’t matter if it killed them. The fresh pool of customers for their deadly product was practically endless.

Oh and lets not forget. Heroine was now much cheaper than trying to score illegal pills off the street.

A band-aid to a sucking chest wound

This crisis has gotten so bad that our agency, like many others, began training and issuing officers Narcan to administer to overdose victims who are non-responsive (for lay people, this means they are very close to buying the farm).

One of my officers saved a life just last week with this drug that immediately counters the effect of an opioid overdose. 

At first I was skeptical of my officers having an additional role as paramedic. That skepticism quickly faded when lives started being saved. It is now a common occurrence for my officers to be dispatched to complaints of an overdose victim who is non-responsive.

If this doesn’t ring the bell for you then nothing will.

Sadly, many addicts are aware of the dangers but don’t care. Some even seek out the rumored “kill batches” because their tolerance has grown so high. Even worse, those who are given Narcan will commonly lash out when they snap out of their almost comatose state.

Why you ask?

Because the officer or medic has just completely reversed the effects of the opioid on the brain which means

we have essentially KILLED THEIR BUZZ!

If you or someone you know is trapped in the hell that is opioid addiction, please reach out for help NOW. This decision can literally be the difference between someone living or dying.

Some of you have reached out and want to share your story with others. A blog like this one is a great way to reach those who could benefit from your experience and interests. Blogging has changed my perspective and my life.

It could do the same for you.

I highly recommend HostGatorwhich in my opinion is the simplest and fastest way to get you started on your blogging journey. If you have any questions about starting a blog or a website, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me directly at bart@familysafefirst.com.




A 23-year veteran police officer, Bart spent time as a patrolmen and a violent crimes detective (specialized in strategic intelligence and research analysis). Aside from this experience in high profile case investigations, he has received training from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in Advanced Intelligence Analysis. Bart also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Strategic Intelligence (Magna Cum Laude) from Liberty University. As a father of four, husband and law enforcement officer, he wants to share his knowledge on safety with you. Bart is also a contributing writer for Law Enforcement Today.


  • Marilyn Woodall March 28, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Drug deaths are alarming across the country. In my home state of Pa. young people in my home town and surrounding areas and adults are dying by the week. The only way to stop the drugs coming is to take the money out of it and the only way to do that is legalize them. That will bring on a whole new war. God help us, we’re going to need it.

  • Bart Proctor April 2, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    7 were killed from this just the other day in Buffalo! My fear is that the general public is treating this as a small problem that should be handled by the police alone. It will take the power and steadfastness of us all to eradicate this alarming trend.


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